PAULS VALLEY – Corbin Larason has good alertness when running the bases.
That attention to detail paid off for the Madill senior Saturday.
With Madill trailing host Pauls Valley by one run entering the top of the sixth inning, Larason’s steal of second base allowed Taber Bagley to score the tying run on a double steal. Moments later, Larason scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and Devon Chapa converted a save to preserve a 6-5 Wildcats victory over host Pauls Valley at the Jeff Davis Memorial.
“Corbin Larason played unbelievable defense today,” Madill coach Mike Matlack said. “He had some real good base running when we went ahead.”
Jake McHatton notched the win. He pitched the fourth and fifth innings.
Bagley and Chappa both starred on the mound and with a bat in their hands.
Bagley pitched the first three innings. Offensively, he went 2-for-3. Chapa contributed a 2-for-4 performance to go along with his scoreless inning of work on the mound.
The Wildcats (4-2) tallied seven hits.
“We were a little more focused in this game than Friday’s second game,” Matlack said. “When we got off the bus this morning, that was our biggest improvement. Taber threw strikes and both Jake and Devon threw strikes. We played a little more fundamental baseball.”
Prague 10, Madill 7
Matlack understands that his Wildcats don’t possess the arms to overpower opposing batters every game. That is why he stresses the importance of playing good defense.
Defense is something the Madill coach hopes to see his squad improve on as the season progresses.
Although the Wildcats out-hit the Red Devils five to two on a chilly, windy day, Madill couldn’t overcome six errors in a 10-7 loss Friday afternoon.
“We don’t have guys who will go out and strike out guys consistently,” Matlack said. “When we don’t pitch to contact, we struggle, and that was a perfect example of it.
“I asked my assistant coach, I think we had over 10 walks and 10 errors. We weren’t mentally ready. But, give it to Prague, they played hard, and their kid threw well and kept us off-balance with his curveball.”
Early on, it appeared the Wildcats were going to cruise to their second win of the day.
Madill took advantage of three consecutive Prague errors and three hits to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Riley McDaniel and Matt Combs each drew a bases-loaded walk. Combs’ free pass put the Wildcats ahead by three runs.
Prague proceeded to turn the tables on Madill in its half of the first.
Paxton Arterberry walked three of the first four Red Devils he faced. Then, to put added pressure on Arterberry, the Wildcats’ defense made three consecutive errors. By the end of the mistake-filled inning, Prague led 4-3.
Madill hit the ball hard in the top of the third and scored three runs — a two-run single by Combs and an RBI single by Corbin Larason put the Wildcats back in front 6-4.
The game featured one more lead change and two more ties, but an inability to locate strikes plagued Madill.
Madill pitcher Jake McHatton issued walks to three of Prague’s first four hitters, and that led to three runs for the Red Devils, who took a 10-7 lead.
Madill, on the other hand, had just one base runner over the last three innings: a walk issued to Tanner Barnes to lead off the top of the fourth.
Madill 11, Ada 5
Finding anything that Barnes did wrong proved to be difficult Friday afternoon.
Barnes went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and the Madill catcher also blocked several curve balls in the dirt to lead the Wildcats to an 11-5 win over the Cougars.
Ada catcher Jayson Ellis, on the other hand, struggled in that category. And Madill took advantage.
Riley McDaniel and Arterberry each touched home plate on a wild pitch in a three-run top of the second for the Wildcats, who took a 3-0 lead.
Madill starting pitcher Raygan Dodd showered Barnes with praise.
“He helps out a lot,” Dodd said. “Curve balls in the dirt, he does a good job.”
Dodd overpowered Ada with his fastball, striking out six and allowing five runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings. He aided his own cause with a high fly ball single that dropped just to the left of an Ada outfielder in the top of the third that increased Madill’s lead to 4-0.
“I was starting to get loose as the game went along,” Dodd said. “I thought that I controlled my curveball better.”
Barnes was rewarded for his hard work behind the plate with a two-run double in the fourth.
“He’s a hard worker,” Matlack said of Barnes. “With him behind the plate, it makes us that much better. It then paid off for him to get a hit. I was happy to see that.”
Ada began to hit the ball hard off Dodd in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs to slice the deficit in half.
In the top of the fifth, Taber Bagley’s RBI single put Madill ahead 7-3.
In the sixth, the Wildcats hit the ball to opposite sides of the field well, scoring four more times to increase their lead to 11-3. McDaniel singled in two runs and later scored on a Traven Bagley double.
Taber Bagley, Traven Bagley, Dodd and McDaniel each had two hits for the Wildcats, who amassed 14 hits.
“They’re hitting the ball well,” Matlack said. “With this weather that we’ve been getting, we’ve been getting a lot of cage time. That helps. That explains why we played so bad in the field. We haven’t had much field practice. But, they work hard in the cages, and it shows off at times.”